Today is the last day of my 37th week. Let’s recap!
Week 36 we completed the last of our childbirth classes and it was actually really helpful information. I’m the type of person who is calmed by knowledge. If I feel unprepared for something that’s when I start freaking out. I feel like I am prepared for labor and delivery or as much as I can be.
I felt like the baby definitely dropped the end of that week. Even Scott could tell that my stomach looked lower. There were times where I felt so much pressure on my cervix I thought the baby might just fall out if I didn’t hold my legs tight.
I started feeling less movement from the baby toward the end of that week as well. The baby was so active all the time that I got worried when I noticed a drastic decrease in movement. My doctor said it was perfectly normal and instead of jabs and kicks it would feel more like rolling because the baby has less space to move around now.
The end of the week I started having mild cramping pains and feeling like I had to poop all the time. In my birth class she mentioned that before delivery your body wants to clear your bowels to make more room for the baby to exit so you can experience a lot of pooping or even diarrhea. I thought for sure I was getting close to labor.
I have been feeling for a while now that the baby is going to come early and not be the typical late delivery that most first time moms experience. The end of the week I could definitely tell that my body was going through some changes. I had been having pretty constant stretching of my ligaments near my pelvic bone and the cramping for the first time but in an irregular pattern and figured I was starting to experience Braxton Hicks.
The pregnancy app says: “Your baby is still packing on the pounds – at the rate of about an ounce a day. He or she now weighs almost 6 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long (about the size of a head of romaine lettuce).
Your baby is shedding most of the downy hair that covered his or her body, as well as the vernix caseosa – a waxy substance that protects the skin during its nine-month bath in amniotic fluid. Your baby swallows these substances, along with other secretions, and they form a tar-like black substance called meconium, which your baby passes in his or her first bowel movements.
At the end of this week, your baby will be considered “early term.” (Full-term is 39 to 40 weeks. Babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term, 41 weeks is late term, and those born after 42 weeks are post-term.) Most likely he or she is in a head-down position. But if not, your caregiver may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version. (That’s a fancy way of saying that your caregiver will apply pressure to your abdomen to try to manipulate your baby into a head-down position.)”
“Now that your baby is taking up so much room, you may have trouble eating a normal-size meal. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point.
People may be asking whether your baby has “dropped” down into your pelvis yet. This process – called lightening – often happens to first-time moms a few weeks before labor starts. (If you’ve given birth before, it probably won’t happen until you’re in labor.)
If your baby drops, you may feel more space in your upper body. Many moms-to-be say they have less heartburn and have an easier time breathing.
On the other hand, you may also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, which may make walking increasingly uncomfortable, and you’ll probably find that you have to pee even more frequently. If your baby is very low, you may feel lots of vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. Some women say it feels as though they’re carrying a bowling ball between their legs!
You might also notice that your Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent now.
The beginning of week 37 I went to my doctor appointment and had my first vaginal exam and my Group B strep culture done. The exam was actually not bad, didn’t feel much worse than a Pap smear to me thankfully because I had heard it could be quite painful so I was nervous about it. I think I was just so excited to see how I was progressing it kept my mind off the fact that I was pretty much getting fisted by my OB. Turns out I was 1cm dilated and 80% effaced. I think my mouth was still dropped open when he left the room. He said there was a good chance that the baby would come early which did not come to me as a surprise after all the bodily changes I had been experiencing that weekend.
I finished my last week of work Friday and started my maternity leave which I was so thrilled about. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to my leave before having the baby. I really wanted at least a few days of r&r to prepare my body for labor. I had originally considered working until I went into labor but since I am trying for a natural birth I want my days to be as rested as possible so I have the energy I need to get through those contractions. A lot of people have said that it wasn’t the pain but pure exhaustion that resulted in them getting an epidural instead of going with their natural birth plan. This weekend we also had our last maternity photo session before the baby gets here, which Scott was very happy about. Last weekends shoot was cancelled due to the rain and I was hoping we would make it to the weekend without baby’s arrival so we could have our Valentine’s Day photos. I should get them back from the photographer something tomorrow and I’m so excited to see them. I can’t wait for the baby to get here so I can take a million pictures!
Mid week I had some discharge that resembled my mucous plug, which really made me think I wasn’t going to make it til maternity leave before having the baby.
I started getting that acid reflux burning sensation in my esophagus again this weekend which has made it really difficult to sleep and getting up in bed is really becoming a challenge for all my late night pee sessions. It feels like I’m doing a hard core ab session every time I try to sit up in bed. I have started resorting to sleeping on the couch in the middle of the night because it’s easier to get up and down since it’s not as high as our bed.
The pregnancy app says: “Your due date is very close now, but doctors don’t consider your baby “full term” until 39 weeks. Spending the next two weeks in the womb allows your baby’s brain and lungs to fully mature.
Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches (about the size of a bunch of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long.”
“Braxton Hicks contractions may be coming more frequently now and may last longer and be more uncomfortable. You might also notice an increase in vaginal discharge. If you see some “bloody show” (mucus tinged with a tiny amount of blood) in the toilet or in your undies, labor is probably a few days away – or less. Also be sure to ask your caregiver about the results of your Group B strep culture. That way, if the result isn’t yet on your chart when you get to the hospital or birth center, you’ll be able to give the staff there a timely heads-up if you need antibiotics.
It may be harder than ever to get comfortable enough to sleep well at night. If you can, take it easy through the day – this may be your last chance to do so for quite a while. Keep monitoring your baby’s movements, too, and let your caregiver know immediately if you notice a decrease. Though your womb is getting snug, your baby should still be as active as before.
While you’re sleeping, you’re likely to have some intense dreams. Anxiety both about labor and about becoming a parent can fuel a lot of strange flights of unconscious fancy.”
This week I will be going back to my doctor for an ultrasound and another vaginal exam. Scott will be going to this appt with me. We are excited to see the baby because we haven’t had an ultrasound since week 28 and the baby was then measuring two weeks early. I am excited to find out my measurements and the measurements of the baby. If the baby is weighing big we will definitely be doing a lot more exercises to get the baby out sooner than later.
Have a great night, I will start doing weekly updates at this point since I don’t think we have much further to go in this pregnancy!